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fresco1

GTI on Vredestein Wintrac Extremes

29 posts in this topic

Greetings, I have been absent for some time - still have the GTI, not interested in getting rid of it, especially since Top Gear rated it 2nd (behind a Lambo) in their All Time top list!!

Anyway ..

After extensive debate, I have in the last fortnight started my GTI on winter tyres. It normally runs PS2's, which are not rated (as I understand it) below 7 celcius. I therefore had Vredestain Wintrac Extreme's put on for winter. Couldn't have been better timing!

In short, they really should be considered essential for winter driving. They are rated for extreme wet, ice and snow. Appreciate they don't last too long on warm tarmac, but will be swapping back to the PS2's in March anyway. The Vredestein's are much better for traction in winter, improved steering, acceleration (even on compacted snow, doesn't often activate ASR), and braking. They also have a lip / rim protector, to protect my otherwise immaculate Monza II's from any idiot-damage.

They have proved excellent for traction up slippy slopes where other cars definitely can't get any grip and are wheel-spinning or sliding backward.

Confident at 60mph on motorway with severe ice and extended patches of snow creeping off the hard-shoulder. I haven't tried them at higher speeds as yet. Quieter than PS2's, which was interesting.

I had debated this winter / summer swap for a time, and am very glad I have done so. I would recommend them to any GTI owners. Note the tyre is otherwse exactly the same spec (225/40/R18) so is basically a tyre brand choice, not a modification. Am using original alloys etc, nothing changed there.

£550 or so, mobile fitted, for 4.

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Not a bad price considering they are £143 each from mytyres just supplied. +++

Alex

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Not a bad price considering they are £143 each from mytyres just supplied. +++

Alex

Ouch!

Just for the record, mine were supplied by Merityre in Farnham, fitted by a mobile fitter who came from London to Bagshot then Farnham and on to me (Hampshire). Have to say, they could not have been more helpful. The fitter himself also had a GTI in Tornado Red, and greeted me (I came trudging through snow as he was finishing) with the wonderful words that as he had the same car at home, he had treated mine as if it was his own!!

Music to my ears!

How have you found the Wintracs? Worthwhile??

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Ouch!

How have you found the Wintracs? Worthwhile??

I don't have them, just did a price comparison, but they do sound like a worthwhile investment. I might get a set for my original Audi wheels which I can use for the winter months. +++

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Hi Fresco1 - that's a really interesting post. I am on standard ContiSport3 225/40/18 tyres at the moment and I'm finding it a real struggle in this ice and snow. I had to abandon my car at the side of the road last Tuesday night as it would not go up a hill which had just had heavy snowfall hit it. OK, hardly anyone else could make it up there either and mine was one of many abandoned cars, but it's interesting a change of tyre could make such problems a thing of the past - or at least reduce their likelihood.

Last week I needed assistance from neighbours / passers-by 3 days in a row or I would have been stuck. And I'm not driving on one-track roads out in the sticks!

It looks like a great idea to swap them over for Winter and then back to your regular tyres for the Summer. Is it OK to keep taking tyres off wheels and then putting them on again or is there a limit to how much you would want to do this - ie could they get damaged / not seat correctly if you keep doing it?

Anyway, cheers for the idea - I'm going to look into it!

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If you've got to continue to get around in these type of conditions then that sounds like the way forward +++

I guess a second set of wheels is the ideal though - 17" monzas in the GTI's case.

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Or a set of 16s with 205 on which is what VW recomend.

But wouldn't that be classed as a mod for insurance purposes?

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At the moment our road and driveway are compacted snow / ice. I had to move the cars about, so took my wife's Lexus (rear wheel drive, on Bridgestones I think) out. It took 1.5 hours to get it back in, plus the help of passers-by!!

Meanwhile, to stop it getting damaged from the Lexus and it's zero-grip abilitites, I drove the GTI backwards up onto a mound of snow - not a bother, and it stayed parked with the back up a snow-hill basically! I even contemplated using the GTI to pull the Lexus about!

Other noteable moments - there is a steep slope where my wife works, no-one (even a Range Rover) has made it up there this week. Okay this was the really hard one, but the GTI went up backwards but made it!! I was genuinely shocked!

There clearly has to be a limit to the Vredestein's grip, but even today in Hampshire on otherwise slushy roads they are proving to be a revelation. Last year I did just under £2K worth of damage to the GTI (wheels and suspension) after a low-speed skid on black ice - for the sake of £550, there is now no-way I would do Oct - March without an approved winter tyre.

If we still have the Lexus next winter, there is no question that they have to be on Winter's by October.

Hope all this is helpful - am a convert, obviously!!

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That all sounds very impressive. I have been a bit shocked by how poor my GTI has coped with the snow and ice on its standard tyres. I'm not really used to driving in such conditions as we rarely get much snow down here on the south coast. However, I'm sure it's not just me as I was watching a guy down the road with a GTI on 18" Monza's the other day. He got off his drive but that was it. He was going nowhere after that. Had to employ his family to push him back up onto the drive...

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But wouldn't that be classed as a mod for insurance purposes?

Im sure they would understand and it is what VW state for winter wheels.

It is actually law in quite a few countrys to use winter tires in certain months, Its about time they made it law here.

Edited by Snoopy

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It is actually law in quite a few countrys to use winter tires in certain months, Its about time they made it law here.

I disagree, here we've had 1 week of snow, and today, it's all melted and it's 8c, which is summer tyres temp.

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It is actually law in quite a few countrys to use winter tires in certain months, Its about time they made it law here.

Granted: most of the winter, the UK is just wet, but given the rubber hardens up and Summer tyres start struggling on anything below about 6degC, I'd have to agree.

In the last few weeks, the fact I have Winter tyres is the only reason I've avoided several accidents: the two worse ones were 4x4 cars on summer tyres: a Volve XC70 and a Rangey because they couldn't control themselves on obviously VERY VERY icey roads: in both cases, if I hadn't been able to stop, then accellerate (in one case backwards) very quickly, I would have had a decent amount of damage to my car and all the inconvenience associated, just because people were driving in vehicles that were not adequately equipped for the road they were driving on. In the case of the XC70, he hit the curb next to where I had been reasonably hard (and sideways), so I'm guessing he might be getting winter tyres when he goes to replace his two alloys and get his wheel allignment sorted out.

If your car doesn't have proper winter tyres on it, you should NOT be allowed onto the road at any temperatures where ice is likely: they could have a website / phone number / nightly weather report as to wether you are allowed to drive in each area on non-winter equipped vehicles - it's just inconsiderate to other road users if you're driving around in a car that's not able to stop / turn properly.

Look at it this way: if you went out in dry weather in a car that only had a drum hand-brake (rear wheels only) and no front brakes at all: with and all the associated handling and stopping characteristics, then you'd get prosecuted.... and you're in a worse position regarding stopping mid corner or at a junction if you're driving on ice using the wrong tyres!

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I don't doubt winter tyres are excellent and yes there is a strong case for these but making it law when certainly in my part of the country this is the first time we have had 'proper' snow in 10 years???? When I drove on Sunday afternoon the roads were dry in the afternoon and outside temp 8degrees. If a car with normal tyres were to perform an emergency stop in front of you I dare say that it would outperform you?

The other aspect is that making it law has other implications - distribution costs are increased etc and those who struggle to keep a car on the road financially could be forced off the road for a weather event which may only happen every 10 years or so.

A lot of these accidents in the weather is down to complete lack of driver experience. I grew up in Yorksire through the 70's & 80's and saw some proper snow. There were very few 4x4's then. The authorities kept roads open - bin men were taken off bin duties and were shovelling grit / salt of the back of lorries clearing residential roads etc. Even the army were utilised in some parts of the UK back then. Everyone usually made it to work OK and life went on pretty much as usual. Nowadays, there are way too few grit bins, old 'council services' are all contracted out so resources can no longer be pulled from elsewhere, lack of grit supplies and too few gritter for today's conditions.

The motorist is fleeced in every way and as far as i'm concerned more needs to be invested in readyness for us to deal with these situations better.

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If a car with normal tyres were to perform an emergency stop in front of you I dare say that it would outperform you?

Unless it was completely dry roads and significantly above 10deg C, the winter tyre would outperform the normal tyre by a decent margin. My summer Toyo Proxes T1-R's are VERY good in the wet, by my Wintrac's are at least as good as them in current conditions (5-10deg C and damp): the rubber compound in normal tyres is designed to last on 50degC+ summer tarmac, so goes very hard and and loses traction below 10deg C. The winter tyre will still perform well above 10degC, but they advise changing them in summer as the sun will warm the tarmac significantly above the official temperature (which is only the air temp, in the shade) and this will increase tyre-wear... that said there are people using these year-round and although they say the rubber does get very soft in summer, they still get 15k+ per set (possibly due to the much deeper tread depth on winter tyres)...

The other aspect is that making it law has other implications - distribution costs are increased etc

Quite the opposite: if more people were buying them, then the online suppliers would start supplying more winter tyres, so they wouldn't be the "special order" items that they were a few years ago... more competition and hence lower prices. Granted there would be a bit more admin with changing tyres over, but tyre shops are happy to keep your extra rims in storage as it keeps you coming back to them, so you're more likely to be a repeat customer with them.

for a weather event which may only happen every 10 years or so.

Not quite sure where you are in Hamps: but I was driving back and forth between Portmouth and North Surrey last year and it was pretty hairy, lots of snow and ice on the roads and that's including fairly big A-roads like the A3... and this week is due for another repeat of the weather we had in Dec... welcome to climate change... the UK is losing the North Atlantic drift, so less of that winter cloud to keep us warm. And I'm pretty sure it gets below 8-10deg C more than "every 10 years or so": winter tyres are significantly better on any cold roads, not just ice/snow.

as far as i'm concerned more needs to be invested in readyness for us to deal with these situations better.

Agreed entirely: £50-£100 a corner for everybody to have winter tyres would be better than the council charging even more than the £2k a year in council tax that I already get charged for my little 2 bed place (which is sat on a residential area of mostly untreated roads!). Grit is okay, but largely wasted: it only works to -6degC, it's washed away as soon as it rains and a bit NSS statement, but it only covers the roads that ARE gritted - having the cars ready for it makes more sense...

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Don't forget that summer tyres do work from 7c upwards, but that's the minimum ... !

As we've all had -6c etc in recent weeks, don't be fololed into thinking 7c is suddenly summer - it ain't! I'm staying on winter tyres until the end of March, as winter tyres are also a preferable choice for heavy rain etc.

And the PS2's are superb once it's consistantly above 10c .. !

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Out of interest, how do winter tyres perform in summer then? Are they really that bad (given it seems 30% of summer is rainy) For me who does only about 2k miles per year in the GTI, it's not really cost effective to have both winter and summer tyres. Also, my company car would not get winter and summer tyres authorised but perhaps I could get winter tyres pushed through instead of summer tyres if performance is not compromised too much?

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I reckon its all a plot by the tyre companies to sell more tyres......gradually, over a few years, make the OE tyres progressively worse in cold conditions, and then bingo, a new market for selling extra sets of winter tyres.......

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Im sure they would understand and it is what VW state for winter wheels.

It is actually law in quite a few countrys to use winter tires in certain months, Its about time they made it law here.

....Insurance companies ought to understand and be sympathetic, but don't hold your breath!

For once I don't agree with you, Geoff - We hardly get any snow very locally where I live and I would not wish to be forced to use winter tyres because of some blanket law.

If so, I would then consider swapping my GTI for a new Landy Defender - I know a company that does highly modified ones capable of 10 minute laps on the Nurburgring.

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Lets be fair, a 10 min lap for a highly modified vehicle aint no great shakes, feck if I can do it in under 10 in a knackered old Scooby, and sabine can do it in a Transit, then that Landy has nothing to shout about!

Land rovers aren't designed to go fast, and clearly, that one doesn't, so all they've done, is take the design ethos of the Land Rover, throw it out the window, make it sh1t at what it's supposed to be good at, and not make it very good at anything else!

Pretty much like all the major car co's have I suppose!

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Land rovers aren't designed to go fast, and clearly, that one doesn't, so all they've done, is take the design ethos of the Land Rover, throw it out the window, make it sh1t at what it's supposed to be good at, and not make it very good at anything else!

....I see your point but I wouldn't want a Land Rover for what it's usually built for. In the event of consistent hard winters etc I would want a funky and very individual vehicle capable of dealing with snow etc but also able to make progress in better conditions. There are other vehicle choices of course, but all that matters is what floats my boat.

+++

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But as someone who does so many modifications to there car to edge every bit of feel and tenth out of it in grip and handling. The advantage of correct tyres for the correct road conditions would be a good investment. Its not just snow and ice we are talking about theres many different grades of tyre for different conditions.

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But as someone who does so many modifications to there car to edge every bit of feel and tenth out of it in grip and handling. The advantage of correct tyres for the correct road conditions would be a good investment. Its not just snow and ice we are talking about theres many different grades of tyre for different conditions.

....You're not wrong. So that's the reason I've got 3 sets of wheels still :grin:. It's a bit like which shoes or coat to wear but I don't have the facilities or inclination to keep swapping wheels. For now, my Goodyear assymetrics are a great allround tyre.

+++

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Are those not the ones that goodyear say only work above 7 degrees and not properly till around 10 degree or am i thinking of another of theres?

This is the problem with summer tyres in the colder months they will not be working at there best and an all season tyre maybe worth a look for the colder months. Were as others in the hills like me were -15 can happen of late then a winter tyre or even M+S in extreme cases maybe worth a look. Most of the winter and all season tyres have quite a large operating temp range compared to summer tyres so can be kept on in the colder months rather than need constant changing.

Edited by Snoopy

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It's 10.5c here, we had it cold enough for winter tyres for 1 week when it snowed, they really are a waste of money in this country, well, certainly down this end anyway.

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